N.D.Iowa: Affidavit for SW said gun was believed to be in attic, but that did not limit the search to the attic

The police had information that defendant had a gun in the attic, and a search warrant was obtained. The search warrant for the gun did not limit the search to the attic because guns can be easily moved elsewhere in the house. United States v. Myers, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 166401 (N.D.Iowa Dec. 10, 2015):

It is true that Christina Myers told Deputy Fiser she believed Defendant kept his firearms in the attic. It is also true that there must be a “nexus” between the contraband being sought and the place to be searched. Keele, 589 F.3d at 943. See also United States v. Tellez, 217 F.3d 547, 549 (8th Cir. 2000). Defendant does not cite any authority, however, for his argument that if law enforcement authorities are told contraband can be found in a certain part of the house, probable cause is lacking to search other parts of the house.

In this case, officers were looking for firearms to support their belief that Defendant was a prohibited person in possession of firearms, in violation of federal law. The Court takes judicial notice of the fact that firearms are easily moved and concealed. As pointed out by Defendant’s counsel at the hearing, several days had elapsed between the incident on June 21 and the issuance of the warrant on June 26. Defendant had plenty of time to remove the firearms from the attic and store them elsewhere. (Here, the two shotguns were found in a child’s closet.) Furthermore, as noted by the Government’s attorney, the warrant authorized a search for indicia of occupancy at the residence, and records pertaining to the purchase or ownership of firearms. Obviously, those items could be found throughout the house. Accordingly, to the extent Defendant may be arguing that probable cause to search was limited to the attic, I find the argument to be without merit.

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